We all hear the horror stories of irritable, overdue pregnant people and how intolerable they are to live with. However, don't ever say or admit that to an overdue pregnant person. I was one and, I can tell you, you'd come out of that conversation with fewer limbs. Past a due date is no time to test any waters. Instead, walk on eggshells and say, "Thank you, beautiful creature, for allowing me to experience eggshells between my toes, "as there are just things all men do when their partner is overdue.
First and foremost, it's worth mentioning that I prefer to use more inclusive language. So, something along the lives of "what all grown-ass non-pregnant partners do when their partner is overdue" is more appropriate. After all, we all know (or should know) there are women, non-binary, and genderqueer partners awaiting the birth of their children via pregnant partners, too. But hey, headlines have character limits and stuff.
Having said that, let's talk about the many, over-played jokes about overdue pregnancy. I'd suggest never telling those jokes to an overdue pregnant person unless you are an overdue pregnant person yourself. They are irritable and irrational for a reason (well, many reasons actually), including but definitely not limited to: swollen ankles, nose, feet, and hands, their hips have spread and they felt every single inch of spreading like flesh tearing from bones, they can't eat anything or they must eat everything, both sensations are equally urgent, and they are literally creating a human life inside of their body. Do you know how much energy that takes?
The important piece to focus on here is if you are the partner of a pregnant person who is past their due date and you, as a grown-ass person, should be doing the following things. End of discussion.
You are absolutely going to make mistakes when your partner is overdue. Please accept it and try your best anyway. Being quiet is essential when tiptoeing around an overdue pregnant person. Non-exhaustive list of times to STFU include when pregnant person is:
1) Yelling at you;
2) Sobbing about the dirty kitchen floor;
3) Hearing you breathe (like nails on a chalkboard).
They Rub Feet
Rub the pregnant person's feet. Ad infinitum. Whenever asked. And, of course, when they tell you to stop: stop immediately. We are very sensitive to sensory stimulation. Beyond the due date every need is urgent.
They Refuse To Complain About Anything
Any non-pregnant partner's complaint, justified or not, will be met with disgust. Your overdue partner, if she's anything like me, will see you as a crying man-baby (regardless of actual gender). You see, when I was overdue nothing in the world was as important, uncomfortable, or annoying than being overdue. Whatever you're complaining about is worse for me. I guarantee it.
Tired? I haven't slept in nine months. Back hurts? I gained 40 lbs in four months. Feet ache? None of my shoes fit because my swollen ass feet have gone up two sizes.
See what I mean? We overdue pregnant people want to be supportive partners who care about your highs and lows, but it will not happen before the baby comes out. It just won't. So put on your rose-colored glasses and deal.
They Know When To Say Absolutely Nothing
"I feel like a beached whale!!" Your overdue partner says. What do you say?
If you answered "nothing," you're right. It's a skill, folx.
They Prepare Themselves For Every Possible Demand
Grown-ass partners of overdue pregnant people are ready for all the demands, all the time.
AmeriCone Dream Ben & Jerry's ice cream at some ridiculous hour int eh middle of the night? Why, yes, sweetie, I'm on it.
Gelatin fruit tart with chocolate coating from a specific store at noon on Sunday? Be right there!
Too hot? Let me fan your face with my book.
Too cold? I'll get three blankets; is that better?
Crying in the bathtub because all the bubbles are gone? Well, you get the idea.
They Take On All The Housework
If you're the partner who barely does any housework, let's be honest: you should've been stepping up the whole pregnancy. However, it's never too late to start doing everything. Yes, I do mean everything. Your partner is creating your child, so there's no reason why you can't clean the damn toilet.
Even if you're the partner who does most of the housework, you can always step it up even more during those last several weeks. For bonus points*, if you see your partner about to put a plate in the dishwasher take it from her as quickly as possible and say something like, "No, babe! You shouldn't be lifting a finger. Let me do that. You go sit on the couch with your feet up and as soon as I'm done cleaning the kitchen I'll be over to rub your feet."
*Bonus points may or may not be accurately assessed during gestational weeks 37-42. Never mention your bonus points. Mentioning your bonus points results in immediate forfeiture of said points.
Yes, I know I said this already. It's that important.
They Have Sex On Command
OK, not really, because consent is a thing and no one should be forced to have sex when they don't want to. Obviously.
However, sex inducing labor is an old wives' tale for a reason, my friends. When I was an overdue pregnant person I was completely devoid of sex drive, but I would have tried absolutely anything to get the baby out of me! It really did not have to be sexy. Just effective.
With at least one of my children it absolutely was effective.
They Don't Force Feelings
Sometimes it feels like pregnant people go through all the emotions within the span of mere seconds. If it feels insane to keep track of all your partner's emotions, just imagine how it feels to be inside of the brain that's spinning in so many different directions so fast.
It doesn't matter if you understand, you must empathize. Above all never, ever try to force your partner to feel something she's not currently feeling. Here are some guidelines for appropriate actions based on specific emotional states:
1) Terror: hold your partner and tell her you'll be by her side no matter what horrors await you both;
2) Euphoria/Mania: join her. Hold hands, dance in a circle, smile;
3) Devastation: hold your partner, tell her you'll be by her side no matter what and get a tissue for her snotty nose (do not comment on the snotty nose or the sound her blow makes);
4) Excitement: be excited with her. Now is not the time to share your fears about becoming a parent. You've been warned.
They Tell Their Partners They're Beautiful
Quite frankly, you should absolutely think your pregnant partner is the most beautiful thing in the world. However, even if you don't, you still need to say it. And mean it. Trust me when I say, she'll be able to tell if you don't.
They Are Ready To Go
At a second's notice they are ready to go to the hospital/birthing center/ birthing tub, because they want to meet this little person as much as you do!
Both partners (or all partners, in poly-relationships) have jobs during pregnancy. A couples' therapist we went to when I was nine months pregnant with our first child sums up the non-pregnant partner's role beautifully. The pregnant person is the one carrying the baby, the non-pregnant partner's contribution to that pregnancy is the emotional labor of putting themselves on hold for a while to fully support the pregnant person.
Always remember that as the non-pregnant person, your job is the easy one. So give your overdue pregnant partner the pampering and massive amounts of slack she needs and deserves.